Wolf noble families
From the Big Book of Wolves, or whatever - knowledge available to anyone
The House of the Wolf consists of the six great families: the Falgouts, the Escaleras, the Hartzells, the Rademachers, the Kizers, and the Truebloods, as well as many subsidiary families of ancient lineage such as the Maez, the Toussaints, the Ayottes, the Vermillions, and so forth. Two other great families, the Azures and the Szabos, have no descendants in the male line and their names are extinct. Of the living families, the Rademachers, Falgouts, and Kizers have held the Imperial throne. Of these, the Falgout family have the distinction of being the only family from amongst the original six Emperors to have living descendants in the male line. Deniel Falgout reigned from 85 to 92, Araille Falgout from 157 to 180, and Raya Falgout from 1830 to 1856. The Rademachers have produced four emperors, the greatest number of any Wolf family, a number exceeded only by the Dyess family of the House of the Bear and the Lail family of the House of the Ox. Luxinie Rademacher reigned from 1027 to 1049, Deniel III Rademacher from 1322 to 1328, Ruchard Rademacher from 1721 to 1724, and Deniel IV Rademacher from 1993 to 2016. The Kizers count two emperors: Kathan Kizer reigned from 1563 to 1609 and Luxinie III Kizer from 2137 to 2138. Only one commoner has come to the throne under the auspices of the Wolf, that being Temoura Wrenn, a soldier and mercenary who reigned from 802 to 814.
Certainly of recent times, the most prominent (not to say notorious) family in the House have been the Kizers. They are not one of the most ancient families, having risen to prominence for the first time in the 15th century. Before that point they were but a group of minor country nobles, their only holding being the county of Greven, with its obscure coastal manor. The family’s original ancestor (or, the first whom we can identify with any certainty) was one Leander Kizer, a jeweler specializing in pearls, who was ennobled just before the year 1400 for his services in fabricating the coronet for Empress Roslin Marcoux’s wedding. Their rise from that point was meteoric, to say the least. Leander had seven children, and within two generations there were Kizers married into several of the great families. With the election of Kathan Kizer to the throne in 1563, they had firmly cemented their claim to be called a great family in their own right. Their energy and ambition helped to revitalize their House’s fortunes, which had been dwindling following the extinction of the Azure family.
With the nomination of twenty-year-old Luxinie Kizer to the throne in Fourth-month of 2137, the family seemed poised for yet another triumph. Luxinie herself was a somewhat unlikely candidate, as she had both an older brother and an older sister. However, her brother Achebel was married and had four young children, and thus was uninterested in risking the testing process. Denilda, the sister, had married Morlan Hartzell not long before and had a single daughter, and thus was considered a good potential candidate, but she and her husband had both tragically perished the previous year in a boating accident. Luxinie, the youngest child and as yet unmarried, was thus the most promising choice, and indeed she succeeded and was crowned Empress on the 28th of Fourth-month.
Many young gentlemen paid court to her, but Luxinie would have none of it, declaring that she would not marry a “brainless fop.” She was reputedly headstrong and of an independent spirit, enjoying drinking and playing cards with members of her Imperial Guard. She scorned personal security, often evading her bodyguards to visit the taverns of Pearl City. It was this tendency which led to her death not long after. In the winter of 2138, on the 17th of Second-month, her body was found by a servant on the bed of a private room of the Crescent Ring, a tavern of less than pristine quality. The mattress was soaked with blood – the Empress’s throat had been cut. All possible motives were bandied about, from robbery to rape to suicide. No suspect was ever apprehended, however.
With this stain on their record, the Kizer family might have fallen out of prominence, were it not for a young man named Martan Kizer, the eldest son of Achebel Kizer. He had just reached the age of manhood when his aunt died. The two, not far apart in age, had been very close, and young Martan was devastated. His aunt’s death, however, permitted Martan a prominence within the family which he might not otherwise have experienced. His father died two years later when his carriage overturned on a cliff. As his mother had died years before in childbirth, Martan inherited the Duchy of Friaul when he was merely seventeen, making him the highest-ranking noble in his family. This was not merely an empty honour, however – he was also the eldest male bearer of the name, giving him authority over his younger siblings Kinor, Meora, and Veiane, and over his orphaned cousin Mercy Hartzell.
For a time, Martan’s uncle Marcus Trueblood (his mother’s elder brother) managed to exercise some degree of control over the young man. Martan married Trueblood’s younger daughter Lirienne when he was eighteen and she was sixteen, but the union produced no children, and by all reports the two were not close. Indeed, Martan was said to be on much closer terms with his cousin Mercy, and was shattered by her death in 2148 at the age of sixteen. Even in his youth, Martan displayed diplomatic skill, brokering decent marriages for two of his siblings despite the cloud of scandal the family had recently fallen under. His brother Kinor married Julinia Escalera, who would bear him two children, Jovien and Lenara. Martan’s youngest sister Veiane was married to Follan Maez and bore two daughters, Solilea and Oriabel. The other sister of the family, Meora Kizer, went into the church and never married.
Martan led his family with considerable skill, gaining authority over many of his cousins among the Escalera and Falgout families. The Trueblood family never warmed to his leadership, perhaps because they considered his treatment of his wife Lirienne objectionable. As well, the Hartzell family bore him some enmity, believing that Mercy Hartzell should have been returned to them to be raised. Some even held him responsible for her death.
He achieved his greatest political prominence under the rule of Hugolin Silveira (2140-2147). From 2144, when he was 21, until the accession of Enzephir Dyess three years later, Martan was the Lord Chancellor, one of the youngest ever to hold that position. By most accounts he was skilled at the role, acting as something of a stabilizing influence on the notoriously erratic emperor. Still, he was swept from office along with all of the other governmental officials when Enzephir came to the throne. Some have speculated that Martan bore a grudge against Enzephir for depriving him of his rank, but there is contradictory evidence that the two men remained on good terms. After all, Enzephir replaced the entire government with men and women of his own choosing, and he certainly did not seem to dislike Martan in particular. Indeed, Martan was often invited along on hunting trips or seaside visits with the Emperor and his Warlord, Patric Arguelles, during the early years of Enzephir’s reign.
After his brief tenure as Lord Chancellor, Martan never again held political office. Instead, he took a great interest in the management of his duchy, Friaul, and in the affairs of his extended family, as well as continuing to maintain a strong presence at the early court of Enzephir. He died in his sleep in 2166, at the age of 42.
The Rademacher family's antiquity in the House of the Wolf is matched only by the Falgouts' lineage. The ancestors of this line are said to have been present at the founding of the Empire, and have maintained and even increased their position and prominence over the ensuing centuries, despite a persistent strain of instability in the bloodline that has occasionally manifested itself in outright insanity. The family name means 'wheel-maker' in Archaic Aveyronnais, and one of its earliest identifiable members, Patriarch Thaleus Rademacher (d. 176), was seemingly responsible for formulating and originating much of the theology that would become codified as the Way of the Wheel, and perhaps for composing certain ancient texts that were later incorporated into the Almas Genara. This much is suggested in the History attributed to Emperor Orkael, who was writing almost two centuries after the Patriarch's death, and yet his reputation had survived and been passed down for that length of time. Certainly it is noteworthy that Patriarch Thaleus's tomb in the Saltgrove, though naturally much weathered by the elements and the years, appears to be the first to bear the sign of the Wheel as we know it today.
The family's best and brightest went into the church or studied sorcery for many generations, showing relatively little interest in politics. There is no record that any of them even stood for the position of Emperor prior to Luxinie Rademacher gaining the throne in 1027. Empress Luxinie had a more martial temperament than many of her brethren, and led her troops personally in putting down the rebellion of Duke Evert Nylander of the Iles Furneaux in 1037-1038. Prior to that point, she had been a well-liked and respected ruler, but after her return from the war, she grew increasingly erratic and paranoid, and spent the last years of her reign as a virtual recluse, refusing even to see her husband or children.
Deniel Rademacher assumed the throne in 1322, seemingly marking a new beginning for the troubled family. And indeed, he ruled well for six years, at which point he abruptly summoned the Great Council and announced his intention to resign the throne. There was considerable debate in the Council over whether this was permissible or not; there was no precedent for an Emperor's abdication - and much of the strongest opposition came, naturally enough, from his own House. Records from the deliberation were sealed; however, the private accounts of certain members who were present imply that Emperor Deniel expressed grave concerns about his own sanity - though what precisely those concerns were, no one dared record, at least not in any presently-available records. With the assistance of his cousin Venec Rademacher, a skilled lawyer and orator, the Council was eventually convinced to permit the Emperor to step down and retire to his family's estate in Telorre.
After Emperor Deniel's abdication, the Rademacher family fell into disfavour within their own House. They had previously held the Duchy of Creve Coeur, but it was stripped from them and passed to the Trueblood family, leaving them without a duchy to their name. It would take nearly four centuries before the Wolves would be persuaded to nominate another Rademacher for Emperor. It would prove to be a grave error on their parts. Emperor Ruchard was a promising young gentleman of twenty-two years, the eldest son of the count and countess of Unaka, and by all accounts a brilliant scholar. His final project at the Castalia, completed the year before he was chosen as Emperor, is still regarded as one of the definitive works on dream-travel. When he suddenly disappeared from his bed a mere three years into his reign, the Empire was plunged into turmoil. The Gentlemen of his Chamber were closely questioned, but if they knew some secret behind his vanishment, none of them revealed it. For six months the most powerful priests and sorcerers of the realm attempted to locate him, or even simply to determine whether he was alive or dead, without success. Purported seers and outright madmen presented themselves at the palace with rumours or visions of the Emperor, but none of them were able to locate him. The Empire was torn between hope that he would yet be found, and mourning for his apparent death. At last, and with much regret, the Great Council decided to declare him dead and select a new Emperor.
Yet again, the Rademacher family were in unfortunate circumstances; however, this time their House did not blame them for their failure as they had at the time of Emperor Deniel's abdication. A century later, Empress Raya Falgout, whose sister wed Bernart Rademacher, granted her brother-in-law the newly-conquered Duchy of Psyra, which the family has held ever since. By the late 20th century their reputation and fortunes had recovered sufficiently that, despite the inevitable jokes, another Deniel Rademacher was put forward as candidate for the throne, and won it in 1993. This Deniel, the fourth Emperor by that name, was charming, sophisticated, a talented poet and song-writer, and a dreamer who proved to be relatively uninterested in the day-to-day business of ruling the Empire. His mistress, a common-born woman of House Lizard named Athenais Kester, accompanied him to all Council meetings, and later in his reign even attended them alone to speak on his behalf; Deniel had at least chosen his Inner Council carefully enough that most of them were willing to work with her because of her obvious intelligence and wisdom. Whether it was due to her positive influence, or some change for the better in the family's bloodline, Deniel IV, though always somewhat eccentric, was not obviously troubled by the insanity that had afflicted so many of his ancestors.